A lot of people will be familiar with the terms, but not many people know the difference between SPF and UPF or what they stand for.
SPF is better known than UPF
SPF is more commonly known as it is the sun protective rating for sunscreens and other sun protective creams. SPF stands for sun protection factor and the SPF rating which typically varies between 15 and 50 indicates the level of sun protection offered.
The SPF rating indicates the level of UV radiation blocked by the sunscreen if the recommended amount has been applied. For example, SPF 15 blocks 14/15th or 93% of UV radiation. Whereas, SPF 50+ blocks at least 49/50th of UV radiation.
As an aside, it is important to buy a “broad spectrum” sunscreen as this will block both UVA and UVB wavelength rays. UVB is responsible for sunburn but UVA causes skin ageing.
UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor and is the sun protective rating for fabrics
UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor and is the sun protective rating for fabrics, most commonly referred to with sun protective clothing. The rating system works the same way as for SPF. The maximum UPF rating that can be awarded is UPF 50+, which blocks at least 98% of UV radiation.
Dermatologists agree that the best way to prevent sunburn, skin ageing and skin cancer is wear UPF 50+ sun protective clothing making sure that your skin is not directly exposed to sunlight.
Sunscreen is also considered an effective way to protect yourself, but as it is an application to the skin which relies on the correct amount being applied in the first place and the reapplication at least every two hours. Sunscreen also expires after around 2 to 3 years as the formula becomes unstable after a period of time. Dermatologists believe sunscreen should be considered as a last resort in terms of sun protection.
Solbari is the leading sun protective clothing brand in Australia with customers in over 70 countries. Solbari offers a range of UPF 50+ sun protection products including sun protective clothing, broad brim sun hats, UV arm sleeves and sun umbrellas.
As a teenager growing up in England my favourite summer pastime was sunbathing with friends. I have been extremely lucky to have not developed skin cancers (to date) and I am willing to start to take better care.